Essays on Simulation-Based Estimation
Complex nonlinear dynamic models with an intractable likelihood or moments are increasingly common in economics. A popular approach to estimating these models is to match informative sample moments with simulated moments from a fully parameterized model using SMM or Indirect Inference. This dissertation consists of three chapters exploring different aspects of such simulation-based estimation methods. The following chapters are presented in the order in which they were written during my thesis.
... Chapter 1, written with Serena Ng, provides an overview of existing frequentist and Bayesian simulation-based estimators. These estimators are seemingly computationally similar in the sense that they all make use of simulations from the model in order to do the estimation. To better understand the relationship between these estimators, this chapters introduces a Reverse Sampler which expresses the Bayesian posterior moments as a weighted average of frequentist estimates. As such, it highlights a deeper connection between the two class of estimators beyond the simulation aspect. This Reverse Sampler also allows us to compare the higher-order bias properties of these estimators. We find that while all estimators have an automatic bias correction property (Gourieroux et al., 1993) the Bayesian estimator introduces two additional biases. The first is due to computing a posterior mean rather than the mode. The second is due to the prior, which penalizes the estimates in a particular direction. Chapter 2, also written with Serena Ng, proves that the Reverse Sampler described above targets the desired Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) posterior distribution. The idea relies on a change of variable argument: the frequentist optimization step implies a non-linear transformation. As a result, the unweighted draws follow a distribution that depends on the likelihood that comes from the simulations, and a Jacobian term that arises from the non-linear transformation. Hence, solving the frequentist estimation problem m [...]